This post could come under the ‘How great things age’ or the ‘Reflections on bespoke’ heading.

Whatever the category, readers have asked frequently about this pea coat, how it has held up and – more specifically – whether I ever changed the buttons.

I did.

Much as I loved the vintage gilt buttons I sourced from The Button Queen, the coat was a bit too ostentatious with 10 of them running up the front. Too military vintage; not enough contemporary elegance.

I swapped them for dark-brown horn (with Graham Browne).

I had assumed I’d use black horn, to reflect the colour of the embroidery, and had said so at the time. But when we looked at both on the coat, either worked. And I prefer the varied colour of the dark brown.

 

 

There is very little I would change about this coat if I did it all over again.

One, however, would be the angled welt pocket under the lapels (which you can see on the chest in the image below).

This is very functional, at the perfect height for my right hand and a good size. But I find I fold that left-hand lapel up a lot, which then exposes the pocket.

Davide (Taub, Gieves head cutter) and I had assumed this would be a rarity, but we were wrong. If I designed it again, I’d stick with the internal pocket underneath that lapel, which is only just hidden and almost as convenient (when the lapel is down).

 

 

The only other thing I might reconsider is the cloth.

It’s loden, which is an alpaca/wool mix and traditionally used for the Austrian coats of the same name.

Loden’s key virtue is that it holds a nice sharp line even in light weights, and with no other structure in the coat. That suited my aims, as I was afraid of having something too heavy.

In retrospect, however, a heavier weight would have been fine, and a slightly thicker, spongy wool (as more commonly used for pea coats) might have been nicer.

 

 

That’s a relatively small point, however, and overall I love this coat: it’s proved incredibly useful, been widely admired, and I’ve hugely enjoy wearing it.

One reason it’s so useful is that (as with all pea coats) it bridges formal and casual rather nicely.

It’s long enough to cover a jacket, and although I wouldn’t wear mine with jeans, it covers most other eventualities.

Given I cycle a lot (often going to appointments on a Boris Bike in London), a coat this length is also particularly practical: not as long as a regular overcoat, and not the slightly awkward in-between length of a car coat.

 

 

Interestingly, the embroidery (above – in black, by Hawthorne & Heaney, drawing on Gieves archives) is rarely remarked upon.

I was a little afraid that, even in black, it would stand out too much. But often it’s not noticed unless I point it out.

The fit and cut, however, immediately set it apart.

No pea coat would ever have this much shape through the waist. Partly because ready-to-wear can’t do that and cater to a broad range of men, and partly because pea coats were historically much squarer and so tend to be designed that way.

 

 

The bespoke make also gives it a natural shape in the chest, which is very flattering, and allows things like the collar to be the perfect height and shape for me.

The undulating curve of the front edge, although achievable outside bespoke, is also very distinctive.

I love the way it starts quite tight at the neck, runs a broad, deep curve around the chest, then dives straight through the waist and hips, before kicking out ever so slightly at the bottom.

 

 

Other subtle but highly enjoyable points include the hip pockets, which were positioned at the perfect height for me to plunge my hands into. And the quilting detail on the inside, which of course no one normally sees.

If you want to, you can read the full step-by-step process of designing and fitting the coat back in 2013 in these posts:

1 The inspiration, design, and ‘Who dares wins, Rodney’

2 The first fitting, including sizing for a jacket and knitwear

3 The making details, with quilting and embroidery

4 The final coat, where I first start ranting about that front edge

5 Details: The buttons, the designs, and the outfit it was worn with

 

 

In the images in this post, I am also wearing:

  • Olive-green cotton-twill trousers from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury (Loro Piana cottons bunch)
  • Silver/cream Kishorn scarf from Begg & Co
  • Brown oxfords with alligator insert from Saint Crispin’s (also getting their own post soon)

Photography: Hannah Miles @photographybymiles

 

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Oliver

Strange, the cloth seems much lighter / greyer in these photos. Maybe it’s just me!

Bob

You seem to blame the photography a lot for inconsistency in colours etc. Given ensuring colour accuracy is the bread and butter of many professional photographers I’m surprised you’ve not considered changing photographer given they struggle with it.

Have always said this is a coat I’d love, minus the original brass buttons. Certainly a bespoke peacoat is on my list for this year, though more likely Graham Browne for my budget

Kev Fidler

You would probably never achieve colour consistency in images. Few people colour calibrate their screens and alternating photographers will mean different camera systems, editing workflows etc. Plus the artistic licence each one will introduce to produce more attractive images to view. Where colour reproduction would be useful is in close ups of cloths for example – perhaps a small image just of the cloth would be useful when reviewing or introducing a new piece would help? Beautiful coat, by the way Simon – the shape and fit makes it immediately stand out out.

Philipp

Hi Simon

Love the shape of the coat when it is completely closed.

If you’d like a few shape-based changes, will the tailor charge you again for adjusting the suit? (I understand that changing buttons would obviously cost something and hence your decision to go to GB instead of G&H directly)?

Thanks,
Simon

Steven

Thanks a lot for this post Simon. That pea coat – for years now – is one of my favourite pieces you have comissioned.

Hristo

I love the coat and it was an inspiration for mine made my Pirozzi which is without a doubt one of the most useful pieces in my wardrobe.

I don’t like the colour combo with the olive green trousers though.

Robin

You mention that it’s long enough to cover a jacket should one be worn underneath.
More generally is it possible to have a coat that works well with or without a jacket or would one need a with jacket coat and a without jacket coat.

I assume it’s the accomdation of jacket shoulders that determines this ?

AO

Amazing to see just how big an overall change something small like buttons can make. When you first revealed the coat on this website, I loved the fit but thought it looked a bit dated and archaic, or old military as you say. This has completely transformed it into a much more modern and, in my opinion, stylish piece.

Roy

Great looking and functional coat, made even better by the switch of buttons. I think the photographs are fine by the way, but would’ve like to seen the one with the coat unbuttoned.

Arndt

Hello Simon

Interesting post!
I have a pea-coat in the very same cloth and would now with
hindsight like change that too.

I don’t mind that the cloth isn’t quite as heavy as you would
normally expect for a pea-coat. My biggest issue with it is that
also being Loden it is not at all hardwearing. The fact is that after
just one season of use the cloth is in parts already threadbare.

I was wondering in you have the same problem and what would be
your alternative choice of cloth.

Best
Arndt

H

Do you mean something like this (in principle, I know you can’t judge cloth well online)? If so, is that also something you’d use for a standard overcoat?

http://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/prod/1068/west-of-england-coating/fox-classic-midnight-coating

Burt

Arndt, there’s actually quite some difference in loden. The one used by G&H was by Leichtfried, an exquisite quality made from merino wool rather than ordinary wool in a complicated process. It’s another standard than the traditional rather felted quality, but so is the price of the cloth.

Anon

Simon

The pea coat looks fantastic and is one of my favorite pieces from your commissions, I particularly like the shape and details of the back.

One question I have though is on the fit of the shoulders. Often the shoulders on your suit coats and other jackets are very slopped, whereas the shoulder line on this coat appears quite flat. Is this a conscious difference?

Thanks.

JH

Interesting that you mention you wouldn’t wear this with jeans. Do you have any recommendations for a coat that you’d wear with jeans and “upwards” on the formality scale? Sort of like the high/low principle for outerwear but the reverse of what you suggested on that post so that now the coat would be the high element of the outfit.

Guillaume

Granted this won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I would actually love a coat like this with some fairly ‘dark’ cream/ivory buttons to wear with pale trousers or indigo denim and some white sneakers.

The change of buttons really has transformed this coat, Simon. Just goes to show how great an effect the individual details of a garment can make to the overall impression.

Martin

Apart from matching the embroidery on this coat, would you ever consider black buttons with navy cloth?

Phil

Great idea to do follow ups for some of these big bespoke commissions. For me this is definitely better with the new buttons. It looks magnificent. How about the legendary Cifonelli suede blazer next? Before my next trip to Paris…

Matt S

I love the new buttons, Simon! I put identical buttons on a pea coat years ago and I haven’t since found anything I like better for subsequent pea coats.

Kirill Dashkovskiy

I must say, I did prefer the old buttons, but I can see your reasons for changing them. The coat itself of course looks as excellent as ever.

Rabster

Considering this is quite a unique design has Davide Taub thought about running a RTW line.
(aka Patrick Grant and Debenhams, Richard James and John Lewis etc)

Anonymous

Good article, the ‘age’ articles are always interesting. Agree on the buttons for daily wear – the use of brown (vs. black or blue) is an excellent choice – the black too utilitarian, the blue too invisible. Some comments point to colour balance of the image – there are many forms of still image post manipulation apps and programs – suggest 5 – 10 minutes with one of these should offer colour correction to the correct hue (accepting that various devices have differing looks but generally this is a matter of light/dark rather than colour balance). Also is the photographer using lens filters (UV, polaroid etc.) that might also be affecting light and colour balance.

Oskar

It may be the lighting in this new set of photos but the chest pocket is really sticking out to me. 100% agreed that the coat would have been better without. Such a magnificent piece otherwise!

G.

I need to go against the grain but find the coat pretentious with the sleeve embellishments.

David

The basic cut of this coat is superb and the button change is a good thing.
That said, the embroidery renders it unwearable. Moves like this are the antithesis of ‘Permanent Style’ and are always faux pas that come back to haunt.

Tim

Beautiful! I’d love to have a pea coat made like this, though my vintage pea coat from the 50’s fits incredibly well through the chest and waist the lapels are floppy, have a tendency to fold the other way and don’t hang nice with the coat open. Wish I could afford it 🙁

Luca

Hi Simon! I love it with the new buttons! Incredible how a small detail makes such a huge difference… Would you mind sharing the price? Also, apart from G&H, what other tailor would you recommend for a pea coat? Would you stick to British or consider Italians as well? Thanks!

Winot

I think Davide charges more like £5000 now (inc. VAT).

peter

The coat is so awesome and color was cool i love this coat men look so handsome to wear this coat

Patrick Campbell

Hi Simon,
This has inspired me to commission my first bespoke piece! Recently I had a grey 3 piece suit made, but I chickened out of bespoke as I could not justify the price. I don’t wear suits apart from special occasions. A winter coat however is something I can justify and this peacoat is amazing.
Before I commissioned my mtm suit I made sure I was suit literate, and I found loads of resource online guiding me through what decisions I should have considered before visiting my tailor. With coats I feel even more out of my depth.
What would you say are the things I should have considered carefully about my new coat before visiting my tailor, and what are the do’s and don’ts of over costs like the peacoat and bridge oat?
I’m am considering Stewart Christie co or Peter Johnston here in Edinburgh.
If you have any advice, I would readily listen.

hugh

Simon,

What are your thoughts on similar angled, welted hip pockets but on a longer overcoat? It seems convenient and comfortable; but I have only seen them on US Naval Officers’ coats (with a pass through which seems neat). Is there a reason that this combination seems as common as hens’ teeth?

-hugh
Chicago

Thomas

Hello Simon,

This is a true jewel. I don’t get tired of watching these pictures again and again.
It seems from the basting that there are shoulder pads. Is that correct?
Did you choose to do the fitting on a jacket or on a sweater? Since the jacket has already some shoulder padding in contrast to truly natural shoulders of a sweater I guess that an overcoat can’t perfectly fit with both.

Best,
Thomas

Malcolm B

Love the fit of this, the sharpness of the cut and the way the collar looks great however the coat is buttoned. It seems like Davide Taub brings thoroughly modern touches to his garments, while retaining the quality of tailoring you would expect from Savile Row. I must say, I also prefer the toned down look of the horn buttons vs the original brass. I’m looking to have a pea coat made and would only wear it for casual / dress down office wear (not over tailoring). I think you mentioned you might not go with the exterior breast pocket under the lapel and might go for a more conventional and heavier cloth if having it made again. I will be living in the North of Scotland and Moscow – both of which vary from warm to bloody freezing. For casual use (but still cut dramatically) and loving the clean collars of both this and the Edward Sexton great coat, what would be your advice on cloth, weight and maker?

Tim

Are these the same buttons The Lining Company sell?

Tim

Where would I be able to find similar buttons? I see that The Lining Company have very similar looking ones, but they’re a tad smaller than the standard buttons on a pea coat. Would that still look good?

Alex G

I’d be fascinated to know how much you wear this, Simon.

While one would instinctively rotate suits and wear a different one each day, I presume one has fewer overcoats and therefore you wear this much more often (and, of course, you wear it for less time each day)? I’d certainly be tempted to wear it most days at the moment – but would that shorten the longevity of the coat?

Amd of course, the entire point about am overcoat is that it protects you from the weather – but how do you protect *the coat* from the weather?

Alex G

Thank you Simon.

I must say, one of the joys of this site is that even posts that are years old remain relevant and the comment threads active. 🙂